New Horizons in Regional Science series
Edited by André Torre and Frédéric Wallet
Chapter 5: When local interaction does not suffice: sources of firm innovation in urban Norway
The sources of innovation in regions have been hotly debated in recent years. While the traditional view supports local interaction as the main source of knowledge exchange and innovation (e.g. Becattini, 1987; Porter, 1990), the more recent theories of 'pipelines' have looked for the roots of innovation and knowledge diffusion outside the region. International connections (Bathelt et al., 2004; Doloreux and Parto, 2005) and exchanges within the national context (Gertler and Wolfe, 2006; Isaksen, 2009) have come to the fore as important vehicles for the generation and diffusion of innovation. The consensus emerging from these strands is that local and global interaction operate together in fostering firm-level innovation within regions and are perfectly complementary. Dynamic regions combine high levels of local interaction with specific knowledge communication channels between individual firms located in the region and the outside world (Malecki, 2000; Bathelt et al., 2004; Wolfe and Gertler, 2004; Maskell et al., 2006). Pipelines to the outside world are regarded as a key source for radical innovation, channelling new knowledge and practices to local firms, while local interaction represents a more genuine vehicle for incremental innovation. However, whether local interaction and global pipelines are complementary and whether they are linked to fundamentally different types of innovation has seldom been demonstrated. Studies analysing the sources of innovation in regions abound.
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